I have lived all my life in Tiverton, firstly in the Westexe area growing up, then in the town centre, and since November 2017 in Cowleymoor.
I have worked for Heathcoat Fabrics since leaving school in 1987 in various roles on the shop floor. My current job is in the Knitting department loading warps into knitting machines. I have been a shop steward in the union since around 1992 and I am currently chairman of the Unite branch based on the premises. I have many years’ experience in wage negotiations with the company and representing members on a wide range of issues. I married in 2016 in Manila to my wife Rahnel, who was born in the Philippines and now works in Exeter as a hairdresser (or will do once the lockdown has finished).
I joined the Labour Party 4 years ago, inspired by the manifesto, and am in favour of bringing the utility services and rail network back under the public umbrella, as well as the electric, gas, phone and railway companies, which make large profits and should never have been sold by the Tories. The profits they make now are the missing funds that could support the NHS and other vital services. I recently looked into buying a train ticket to London and the cost came out at over £550. What hope have we as normal people to pay this sort of price? This just forces us to drive our cars, causing more pollution. Rail travel from Devon to the north and London should be affordable.
What I want to focus on – should I be elected – is helping the district get the town centre rejuvenated. It currently is overloaded with charity shops, hairdressers, banks and takeaways. We must find a way to attract more diverse businesses and make Tiverton a place to go shopping again.
I would also address the current state of the roads in and around the town. There are far too many worn out, potholed roads and I aim to improve this should I be elected.
I am a local referee in my spare time, and doing this I have realised the need for a 4G pitch. There are far too many times the local youth and adult games are called off due to the weather, and the state of the pitches, and this would solve that while at the same time being available for other sports. It would give the youths somewhere to go and join in these various sports, as there isn’t really anywhere for them currently. I would like to work with Active Devon and local representatives to explore the possibility of having a 4G pitch at Amory Park. I’m sure this would eventually turn a profit for the community.
I also want to see a reduction in the plastic waste that supermarkets use, as there is far too much waste in our recycling boxes each week. We need to find a strategic way to reduce this over the next 4 years.
We also need to fix the issue of affordable housing and the rent trap. How can it be right that people are paying £700-£900 a month on rent, and yet can’t get a mortgage which would often cost less. Once you are paying that sort of level of rent, how can you possibly afford to save for a deposit? The combination of low wages in Devon means that local young couples are struggling to get on the property ladder, and it’s vital we look at the economic strategy as well as work with the district to address this.
So to sum it up, if I were elected as your representative in Tiverton East, I would work to address these key issues and as I am local and live in Cowleymoor I will be accessible for you to bring up any local concerns, and will do my best to resolve these for you.